GRT Grasser Racing Team topped the time sheets in the 90-minute Pre-Qualifying session for the second round of the 2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with Mirko Bortolotti lapping the #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in 1:59.640, ahead of the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 in which Davide Rigon put in a 1:59.714.
Completing the top three was the #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes-AMG GT3 which lapped in 1:59.977 in the hands of Maro Engel.
The session got underway on the Grand Prix circuit at Silverstone under overcast skies with the threat of rain in the air.
After the 48-car grid had struggled to lap the 5.89 kms circuit in under two minutes in the morning’s practice session, Raffaele Marciello, driving the #88 Mercedes-AMG Team AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3, set the early pace with a 2:00.105.
However it took over 20 minutes of the session for the 120-second barrier to be broken when Maro Engel, at the wheel of the #4 BLACK FALCON Mercedes, lapped in 1:59.977 on his seventh lap. Engel’s time was quickly bettered, however, when Davide Rigon put in a 1:59.714 shortly after.
As the session got underway, it was announced that Philippe Steveny, the Belgian bronze-rated driver, was being replaced for Sunday’s race in the #9 Boutsen Ginion Am Cup BMW M6 GT3 by Philipp Eng. The #9 car will now compete as a Pro-Am entry.
There were challenges for the #108 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3, when after completing six laps in the hands of Alex Buncombe, the car was brought back to the garage. The rear of the car was worked on for some considerable time until it returned to the track in the final few minutes.
With 35 minutes remaining, the session was red-flagged due to Steven Kane, at the wheel of the #107 Bentley, went off the circuit at Copse Corner due to a left-rear puncture and became stranded in the gravel. As the session was neutralised, The #63 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 stood at the top of the time sheets with a 1:59.640 put in by Bortolotti, followed by the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 with a 1:59.174 set by Rigon.
The rain that had threatened all day arrived as the session entered the final 20 minutes with a downpour on certain parts of the circuit, particularly at Abbey (T11).
The field headed for the pit-lane and the opportunity to change tyres. The rain passed quickly and cars returned to the circuit but times were not improved.
Quickest of the Silver Cup entries was the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 in which David Perel put in a 2:00.622 while the Pro-Am times were headed by the #74 RAM Racing Mercedes which put in a 2:00.481 in the hands of Tom Onslow-Cole.
Qualifying gets under way at 09:40 local time on Sunday May 12 with the lights going out at 15:00 local time for the Round Two of the 2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.